Athletes from Laos will compete in 32 out of the 46 sports at the SEA Games in Cambodia from 5-17 May.
The Lao team comprises 445 men and 131 women and a budget of LAK 12,200 million has been allocated to support their participation, according to Laoedaily.
Vientiane Times reported that Lao teams will take part in a variety of sporting events such as vovinam, petanque, judo, sepak takraw, kickboxing, wushu, kun khmer (a martial art), cycling, billiards, karatedo, wrestling, pencak silat, taekwondo, boxing, tennis, badminton, track and field, golf, swimming, soft tennis, table tennis, basketball, e-sport, fencing, beach volleyball, obstacle race, kun bokator (a martial art), weightlifting, and chess.
To prepare for the event, the athletes and their coaches have been busy with rigorous training for the past 50 days. However, the government has said that the allocated budget is not enough to cover all the participation costs, including sports equipment and plane tickets.
Several Lao companies have now come forward to offer financial support for the teams taking part in the games. To further encourage athletes to win prizes at SEA games, these organizations have also announced prize money of LAK 10 million for gold medalists, LAK 7 million is on offer for silver medalists, and LAK 4 million to bronze medalists when they return from Cambodia.
The National Olympic Committee of Laos has hired trainers from Cuba, Cambodia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Germany, Singapore, and Myanmar to train contestants in boxing, kun bokator, sepak takraw, taekwondo, wrestling, soft tennis, and football.
At a press conference last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune and Minister of Education and Sports, Associate Prof. Dr. Phout Simmalavong, urged trainers and competitors to put on a strong performance at the games and compete in a spirit of friendship and solidarity. Lao athletes are aiming to win at least five gold medals at this year’s SEA Games.